Senator Charles Schumer told reporters in Midtown Sunday he is optimistic that New York State will get its $41.5 billion request for federal aid for both recovery from Hurricane Sandy and supplemental measures to lessen the impact of future storms.
He said there is "solid" congressional support for the aid request, and that the aid package is likely to pass even if Congress cannot come to a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff by January 1.
The state is asking for $32 billion for recovery, and the rest will help shore up infrastructure, including protecting the power grid and cellphone network.
The senator said a large portion of the money would help fortify vulnerable shoreline areas like the Rockaways.
While some have argued that the waterfront neighborhoods damaged by Sandy should not be rebuilt, Schumer said that would unecessarily displace 300,000 residents.
"In the Rockaways, there was a small portion that had jetties. There was less damage in those areas than in the areas both to the east and to the west. Same in New Jersey, where they had certain kinds of seawall protections," Schumer said. "Senator Gillibrand and I have already submitted about a billion dollars of requests of projects that the Army Corps of Engineers already approved. They studied the region and approved these specific projects and approved these specific areas. But we need to do much more of that and we need to have the supplemental to have mitigation."
Schumer's comments came as Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared to travel to Washington, D.C. on Monday, where he will lobby federal officials for disaster relief aid.
Cuomo is expected to meet with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, among other congressional leaders.
The governor has said forcing New Yorkers to foot the recovery bill would cripple the state.